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March 19, 2012
Sunil Narine, the West Indies spinner, believes the victory over Australia in St Vincent on Sunday will be a major boost to the side's confidence. The win ended a five-year drought for West Indies, who had last beaten Australia in a one-day international at the 2006 Champions Trophy, and it levelled the five-match series 1-1 ahead of Tuesday's third match at Arnos Vale.
Narine was Man of the Match for his 4 for 27 and the Australians struggled to find their rhythm against him on a slow surface. He also bowled well in the first game, when he collected 1 for 24 from ten overs, and he hoped his efforts had helped the West Indies players discover the belief that they could beat Australia, having not won a one-day series against the Australians since 1995.
"It feels really great to get my best figures in just my fifth match and bowl the team to a victory," Narine said. "We needed this win after going 1-0 down in the first match on Friday. This will be a huge boost for the players in the team and everyone in the dressing room. This is the first West Indies win over Australia in a long time and it shows that we have it in us to win.
"It was not an easy wicket to score on. The batsmen found it a bit difficult to get away the ball and I knew once I kept to the game plan I could create problems. I bowled to a plan and I was well backed up by the other bowlers and the guys in the field. This was a wonderful team effort and is something to build on."
The Australians had 40 overs to bat after rain forced a reduction, but they could only build a total of 154 for 9, which never looked like being enough despite the challenging nature of the pitch. The captain Shane Watson said a lack of runs from the specialist batsmen - George Bailey's 48 from the first game is the highest score so far - was something Australia needed to address.
"The conditions make it a little bit more difficult. You're definitely never in," Watson said. "Narine is bowling very well and the ball is turning and bouncing each way. He makes it difficult to be able to keep going. But there's no doubt one or two of us need to be able to go on and get a bigger score to really set the platform to be able to make sure we can go towards the end. That's something we'll talk about."
The third match will be played at the same venue before the teams move on to St Lucia for the final two ODIs, and Australia's selectors must decide whether changing the balance of their side will help on Tuesday. The fast bowlers James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus are in the squad, along with the offspinner Nathan Lyon, but Watson said shortening the batting order to squeeze in another bowler would be risky.
"From the bowling side of things it's going to be difficult [to change] because the bowling part of our team is doing a really good job," he said. "[They did] a really good job trying to defend 150 on that wicket. The balance of our bowling attack is really good.
"On this wicket we probably need a little bit of depth in our batting order as well, because you're never really in. It's going to be difficult to change the bowling side of things, even though we've got a few big guns ready to go in Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson."
Watson also said Australia would be prepared if the former West Indies captain Chris Gayle returned at some point during the series, having not played international cricket since last March.
"We've got to be," Watson said. "I've played a lot of cricket against Chris and you always want to play against the best players. It'll be a big challenge for him out there as well. In the end if he comes back in there's no doubt he'll certainly strengthen up the West Indian team. He's a serious player."
The series continues on Tuesday in St Vincent, where the prime minister has declared the day a public holiday after Sunday's win, which should ensure a big crowd for the match.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala